The Best Supergroups in Metal
Bereft's debut album, Leichenhaus, was released this week. Featuring members of Abysmal Dawn and Intronaut, and an ex-member of The Faceless, the group plays snail-paced doom-metal inspired by 90's U.K. acts like Paradise Lost and Anathema. Since it came out just this week, it is still too early to tell what kind of impact they will have, but they got us thinking about the best metal supergroups, which we have run down for you below.
5. Liquid Tension Experiment
Featuring members of Dream Theater, King Crimson, and Dixie Dregs
Drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci took a break in 1997 from prog-metal greats Dream Theater. They hooked up with then-King Crimson bassist Tony Levin and then-Dixie Dregs keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Over the course of two albums, Liquid Tension Experiment pushed the boundaries of instrumental prog-metal. At times they dangled precariously from the edge of pushing too far, but the success of these albums eventually paved the way for Rudess to join Dream Theater in 2000.
Featuring members of Saint Vitus, Sleep, The Melvins, and Neurosis
In 2009, Om/Sleep bassist Al Cisneros joined up with legendary stoner-metal vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich, Melvins drummer Dale Crover, and guitarist Scott Kelly of post-metal pioneers Neurosis to form Shrinebuilder. The resulting self-titled album was an immensely punishing slab of stoner-doom. We're honestly not sure if a large enough shrine could be built to contain it. Subsequent live shows featured some of the heaviest floor-rumbling jams that we have personally experienced.
Featuring members of Faith No More, The Melvins, Slayer, and Mr. Bungle
Over the course of four albums from 1999-2005, this supergroup consisting of Mike Patton, Buzz Osbourne, Trevor Dunn, and Dave Lombardo lumped together elements of metal, classical music, jazz, and noise. They continuously challenged the ears of listeners; we found ourselves yelling, "I don't know what the fuck I am listening to, but it's awesome!" Fantomas may have been the hardest-to-digest project its members have been involved with, which is saying a lot, given their individual pedigrees.
Featuring members of Opeth, Katatonia, and Edge of Sanity
Featuring a revolving door of Swedish metal royalty since 2000, Bloodbath is an opportunity for members of prog-influenced metal acts (vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt and drummer Martin Axenrot of Opeth) and depressing Euro-doom bands (guitarists Anders Nykstrom and Per Eriksson and bassist Jonas Resnke of Katatonia) to put aside their more musically-ambitious tendencies and just blast out brutal, no-frills gore-obsessed death metal. Album titles like Nightmares Made Flesh say it all. And it's fucking great.
1. S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death)
Featuring members of Anthrax and Nuclear Assault
The 1985 release of S.O.D.'s Speak English Or Die was one of the most seminal moments in the convergence of metal and punk. The legend goes that during the recording sessions of Anthrax's Spreading The Disease, guitarist Scott Ian would amuse himself by sketching a comic character named "Sargent D." who would spew irreverent slogans like "I'm not racist, I hate everyone."
Ian eventually recruited fellow Anthrax members Charlie Benante and Dan Lilker, and New York hardcore vocalist Billy Milano. Mixed and mastered in just three days, Speak English Or Die was a 30-minute blast of humorous (though politically-incorrect at times) hardcore-influenced thrash that saw skater kids, metal kids, and hardcore kids get in the pit together, shouting along with songs like "Chromatic Death" and "Kill Yourself" (hilariously asterisked in the liner notes in very tiny letters as "an anti-suicide song"). S.O.D.'s influence is still felt today in modern crossover thrash bands like Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust.
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